State Bar Elects Officers; Seymour James to Take Office in June

January 27, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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NEW YORK — Having chosen Brooklyn Legal Aid Society lawyer Seymour W. James Jr. last year at the New York State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, James now knows who his successor will be.
Rochester attorney David M. Schraver was named president-elect designee of the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association on Friday.

The House of Delegates, the State Bar’s governing body, elected Schraver during the 135th Annual Meeting in Manhattan, which lasted from Monday through Saturday at the Hilton New York. Schraver will begin a one-year term as president-elect on June 1, 2012 and a one-year term as president on June 1, 2013.

James, the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice of The Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn, will assume his presidency on June 1, as well, succeeding Vincent E. Doyle III.
Also re-elected last week were Secretary David P. Miranda) and Treasurer Claire P. Gutekunst to another one-year term.

According to his bio on The Legal Aid Society’s web site, James helps lead the largest public defender organization in the country and the primary indigent defender in the city. In that capacity, he is responsible for the Society’s criminal defense trial, parole revocation defense, appellate and post-conviction criminal practices.

Active in the State Bar since 1978, James served as treasurer from 2008 until June 2011. He is a member of the House of Delegates, the Finance Committee, the Membership Committee, the President’s Committee on Access to Justice and the Special Committee on Strategic Planning. Within the Criminal Justice Section, James serves as a member-at-large of its Executive Committee. He is a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the New York State Defenders Association.

James is a past president of the Queens County Bar Association, and has served on a number of that Association’s committees, including its Judiciary Committee. He is also a member of the Macon B Allen Black Bar Association and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association.

In addition to his bar association activities, James is a member of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Justice Task Force, the New York State Permanent Sentencing Commission, the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Second Judicial Department and the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Second Judicial Department. He also serves as the secretary of the Correctional Association.
James received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at CUNY Law School and on the faculty of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.


President-elect Designee Schraver is partner in Nixon Peabody’s Rochester office, where he concentrates his practice in complex civil and commercial litigation, with a special emphasis on Indian law and gaming, energy and utilities litigation, contract litigation, and fiduciary and professional liability. Before joining the firm, he served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Active in the State Bar since 1971, Schraver was a member of the Executive Committee from 2003 to 2010. He has served on the House of Delegates for 15 years and has chaired the Finance Committee since 2007. He is a member of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct, Special Committee on Strategic Planning and Special Committee on Veterans. He previously chaired the New York State Conference of Bar Leaders Executive Council.
A resident of Brighton, Schraver is a past president of the Monroe County Bar Association. He received that association’s Adolph J. Rodenbeck Award. He was president of the Metropolitan Bar Caucus of the National Conference of Bar Presidents.
Schraver is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University. He earned his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. He is a native of Albany.

Secretary Miranda has beer re-elected for a third term. Miranda is a partner at Heslin Rothenberg Farley and Mesiti in Albany. He is a trial attorney whose intellectual property law practice includes trademark, copyright, trade secret, false advertising, patent infringement, and Internet-related issues.

Within the State Bar, Miranda has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2006. He chairs the Committee on Resolutions and co-chairs the Special Committee on Strategic Planning. He was chair of the Young Lawyers Section in 2002 to 2003 and the section’s delegate to the American Bar Association from 1998 to 2000. He also chaired the Electronic Communications Committee from 2000 to 2006. He is currently a member of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Committee on Annual Award, Committee on Continuing Legal Education and Membership Committee. He is a past member of the Task Force on E-Filing and the Special Committee on Cyberspace Law.

A resident of Voorheesville, Miranda is a past president of the Albany County Bar Association. He has served on the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Third Judicial District of the State of New York.

Miranda is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and Albany Law School.


Treasurer Gutekunst was re-elected for a second term. She is a partner at Proskauer. She represents corporate, law firm and individual clients in resolving complex commercial disputes.

Gutekunst previously chaired the Membership Committee, the Committee on Women in the Law, and the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee. She recently co-chaired the Special Committee on Rules for Consideration of Reports. She is a member of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section’s Executive Committee and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

A Manhattan resident who grew up in the Glens Falls area, Gutekunst received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Brown University and her law degree from the Yale Law School.

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